A classic in the Buenos Aires cultural calendar, the 47th edition of the Buenos Aires International Book Fair begins today at the La Rural, the Rural Society’s huge event venue in the Palermo neighborhood.
The event, the most visited Spanish-speaking book fair in the world –last year, it topped the one million visitors mark– turns La Rural into a small city of books that extends across 45,000 square meters with 1,500 stands from more than 40 countries. International guests across its history have included such names as Ray Bradbury, Susan Sontag, John M. Coetzee, Paul Auster, Elena Poniatowska, Doris Lessing, Tom Wolfe, Marc Augé, and Henning Mankell, among many others.
Organized by non-profit foundation El Libro, the fair features conferences, book presentations and signings, and many other activities. This edition’s international guest list includes Spanish writers Irene Vallejo, Fernando Aramburu, Santiago Posteguillo and Arturo Pérez-Reverte as well as Uruguayan poet Ida Vitale. Also, a large delegation from Chile — this year’s Guest of Honor City is the Santiago de Chile Metropolitan Region. Raúl Zurita, Nona Fernández, and Alejandro Aravena are among those set to attend representing the neighboring country.
A typical landmark of the event, the opening speech in this edition will be given by writer, essayist and professor Martín Kohan, a winner of the 2007 Herralde Prize ––one of the top recognitions for Spanish-speaking writers–– for his novel Ciencias Morales. A scholar of Argentine literary tradition and fervent human rights advocate, Kohan’s latest work includes Confesión (Confession) ––a novel divided into three stories set before, during and after the last dictatorship–– and the non-fiction essay ¿Hola? Un requiem para el teléfono (‘Hello? A requiem for the telephone’). Kohan has also become the star of a somewhat viral video featuring him in a TV show debate, compellingly defending the unofficial and widely-accepted number of desaparecidos (30,000, according to human rights organizations) against a denialist right-wing government official.
The opening speeches of the Buenos Aires Book Fair have brought memorable and often controversial moments.
Last year, writer Guillermo Saccomanno gave an incendiary speech that focused on writers’ financial and social conditions, the overly-commercial logic of the publishing industry promoted by the fair itself, and issues such as the country’s poverty rate and the paper supply crisis, which he blamed on unregulated oligopoly companies. “The paper industry is an oligopoly, paper prices are in dollars and even so there is inflation and no state regulation. So, it’s very difficult for small and mid-size publishers to plan the publishing and printing of books,” he said.
Among the hundreds of activities and presentations, Argentine writer and Pulitzer finalist Hernán Díaz will be among the highlights for this edition. A US-based author, he was born in 1973 in Argentina but left the country with his family after the 1976 coup. He will present his latest novel, Trust, which made it to the Top 10 books of 2022 according to The Washington Post and The New York Times. A series adaptation of the novel is in the works by HBO, with actress Kate Winslet attached in a lead role.
Jorge Luis Borges’ first poetry book Fervor de Buenos Aires will also be the object of a special homage because this year is the 100th anniversary of its publication. There will be three conferences celebrating the work of young Borges, on April 29, May 3 and 13, featuring Borges biographer and president of El Libro foundation Alejandro Vaccaro, authors Annick Louis, María Rosa Lojo, editor Valerie Miles, journalist Verónica Abdala and Borges translator to Bengali Razu Alauddin. The ownership of Borges’ heritage remains unclear after the recent death of her widow and copyrights guardian María Kodama.
The fair has also served as a platform for politicians in election years. In 2019, Cristina Kirchner presented her memoir Sinceramente (‘Sincerely’), which became a best-seller that year. This year, far-right libertarian candidate Javier Milei will present a book entitled El fin de la inflación (‘The end of inflation’).
The 40th anniversary since Argentina’s the return to democracy will also be a highlighted theme at the fair with several events, including a conference about the 1985 Trial of the Juntas ––recently depicted in Santiago Mitre’s Oscar-nominated Argentina, 1985. The event will feature the participation of the original judges who prosecuted the military leaders of the dictatorship: León Carlos Arslanián, Ricardo Gil Lavedra, Guillermo Ledesma, Jorge Valerga Aráoz, moderated by journalist María O’Donnell.
Other activities on this year’s program include a Poetry Festival, an International Bookfluencers Convention, and a Reading Marathon focused on Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral.
Information on the fair’s hours, tickets and program can be found in the fair’s website.
Days and opening hours
Monday through Friday from 2PM to 10PM
Saturdays and Sundays from 1PM to 10PM
On Saturday April 29, which is Fair Night, opening hours will be from 1 p.m. to midnight.
- Every day admission is free for children under 12 (inclusive), school visits and people with disabilities.
- Every day admission is free for teachers, as long as they show a certificate or wage receipt.
- Monday to Friday admission is free for students and senior citizens. In all cases it is necessary to show proof
- Fair Night: admission will be free from 1 p.m. to midnight on April 29
- Monday through Thursday: AR$ 800
- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: AR$ 1200
- Tickets can be purchased online on this website.
The entrance gates and their respective ticket offices will be located at:
- Avenue Santa Fe 4201
- Avenue Sarmiento 2704 and parking lot
- Avenue Cerviño 4474 (ticket office accepts debit cardst) and parking lot
The entrance door at Avenida Santa Fe has wheelchairs available for visitors.